Monday, April 21, 2014

You are you, and I am I...



Gestalt therapy is one of the many forms of psychological therapies.  One of its founders, Dr Fritz Perls [1893-1970] made the following lines a kind of prayer:

I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
and if by chance we find each other, it's beautiful.
If not, it can't be helped.

In my youth, I had typed this and pasted it in a place I could see often.  For years, it remained there.  Finally it was worn out.  By that time, however, it had become part of my memory, my consciousness. 

The fact is that I never mastered the art of relating to others.  Maybe, too much ego.  More probably, sheer inability.  Most probably, lack of inclination.  Today, moving towards the autumn of life, I’m still convinced that Perls is right. 

Each one of us has to grow in our own way.  There is much that others can contribute, but whether people choose to make that contribution or whether the contribution becomes relevant to us is often beyond us.  “If we find each other, it’s beautiful.  If not, it can’t be helped.”

Perls was a brilliant psychologist.  He counselled many, conducted seminars and workshops related to psychology and counselling, and earned a name for himself in the history of psychology.  Yet he was eccentric too.  He was viewed variously as “insightful, witty, bright, provocative, manipulative, hostile, demanding, and inspirational.”  [Gerald Corey, Counselling and Psychotherapy]


We may have wonderful theories which help others improve themselves.  Yet we are not perfect.  None of us is.  If we can discover and relate to each other, it’s beautiful.  If not, it can’t be helped. 


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24 comments:

  1. Exactly... We are not made to please others & live up to their standards!! True...

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    1. And yet, people keep on making demands on others to live up to their expectations...!

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  2. sir, you often mentioned this is school. But i think there will be no society without a little bit of flattery. If interactions are not pleasing the world will be gloomy.

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    1. Is pleasing the same as flattery, Nishant? Did I ever flatter you or anyone? Yet wasn't I pleasant enough? [I hope I was at least to some tolerable degree :)]

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Self respect knows no consideration

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Yeah sir, we are unique....we all are unique....

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    1. Some are so unique as to be eccentric, Issac :) That's why psychiatry flourishes today especially.

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks, Pankti, especially for returning with your regular irregularity :)

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  6. when i read this blog .... your topic for the declamation " know yourself be yourself" revovles around my memories.... excellent onesir

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  7. There's an uncanny depth in these words. A beautiful way to convey the concept of caring, but not interfering.

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    1. I'm a happy you could see through the depth.

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  8. Sir , are u a "SAGGITARIUS"? thats what i asked in the comment ?

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    1. No, Varsha. I was born on the same day as Hitler!

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  9. There should be a sense of detachment in every relationship, sir! Like the modern critics claim it to be between the author and the work of art!

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    1. Exactly, M. But the problems are not created because of lack of detachment, usually. Problems arise because people make selfish demands...

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